The Long Road Home: In Concert

John Fogerty

John Fogerty’s survival of the iron-fisted copyright entanglement of his old record company boss, Fantasy record’s Sal Zantz, is a testament to the singer’s spirit and tenaciousness. The guy has always come across like a swamp-fed Springsteen, with his flannel shirts, distinctive guitar riffs and slightly sardonic lyrics. When Concord Records bought Fantasy, in effect reuniting the singer and songwriter with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s back catalog, it seemed like a breath of fresh air. On The Long Road Home: In Concert, Fogerty’s new 26-song live CD, we hear a singer/songwriter finally content with his past.

Assembling seasoned band for a show that took place at the Wiltern Theatre on September 15, 2006, this “audio companion piece to his 2006 DVD” of the same show features a set list leaning heavily on Fogerty’s Creedence catalog. In fact, these old tunes are so well played by the band I find if I have any criticism it would be that I would have welcomed a little branching out, maybe a tempo change here or there. But hell, we’re actually able to hear Fogerty play Creedence again. When he runs through the one/two punch of “Fortunate Son” into “Bad Moon Rising,” can anybody really be disappointed that they are note for note perfect and maybe not as updated or newly interpreted as they could be?

Although Fogerty can get a bit too ‘twangy’ for my tastes, as he does on “Rambunctious Boy” and “Hot Rod Heart,” he’s still in great form…and in great voice! I challenge anyone to notice much of a difference in the guy’s pipes. As anyone will recall, those rocking Creedence tunes, though short, require some mighty vocal muscles; they are, for the most part, out and out rockers! Fogerty sounds especially good on rousing versions of “Born on the Bayou” and “Run Through The Jungle,” perhaps the two best sounding songs on this two-CD set.

For those unfamiliar gems (unfamiliar to me that is), there is a great version of “Blue Moon Nights,” featuring some great guitar playing of Bob Britt. I especially liked the playful “She’s Got Baggage” which shows off the singer’s quick-witted lyrical ability, as well as how loose (yet tight) his band plays. And with guys like Britt, Billy Burnette on drums, George Hawkins on bass, the incomparable Billy Burnette on guitar, and Matt Nolen on keys and guitar, this is definitely one smoking band!

There’s a little political banter (lest we forget Fogerty’s CCR material was written during and influenced by the Vietnam War) and the band intros, but mostly he’s ripping through the set list without much vamping or jamming. Like I said before, any deviation from or change to even a few of the “classic” CCR tunes would have been welcomed, especially from players obviously as good as these guys are. But with the smattering of ‘solo’ numbers like “Rockin’ All Over The World” and “Centerfield,” The Long Road Home: In Concert is an excellent live account of a truly classic American rock songwriter.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.
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